Your Neck: What Goes Wrong and Making It Right
by Dr. Arlo Gordin
Common as zebras in Africa are patients who show up complaining of neck pain and malfunction to my office. Every day people complain of issues with their necks. It hurts; it won't move well; it can come with headaches or with migraines; it sends pain from it into other areas like the shoulder, arm or even into the hands and fingers. Sometimes it is causes numbness or muscle weakness to your arm or hand.
Your neck, known as your cervical area of your spine can get pinched nerves or "short circuits" in it. Some of the nerves that get pinched commonly at the top, near the base of your skull, control the blood flow that supplies your brain. From that you get head symptoms like headaches, migraines or dizziness.
The other super-common area for getting problems, pinched nerves, and short circuits is near the bottom of your neck. There at the level of the 5th and 6th neck vertebrae, we so often see ligament damage, neck curve errors, and spinal degeneration (also called arthritis). That level of your neck is so common to be degenerated and arthritic, and more likely as you get older, that it is a surprise to see a neck x-ray without problems there! Because that area includes the very important nerve source and switchboard for your shoulders, arms, elbows, hands and fingers, those types of problems often start in the neck! Even though you may feel the problem only where the pinched nerves eventually deliver their information, such as your wrist or hands.
As a well-known expert in hand and carpal tunnel correction, I can tell you that many times your hand or wrist pain can have its start and primary cause in a lower neck problem. All pain, numbness and weakness issues from your shoulder on down in your upper body needs to have all the nerve connections and possible faults checked, and that includes this area of common nerve problems in the lower neck. That lower neck area is your brachial plexus, which means the arm and hand nerve network located there. And sometimes the carpal tunnel or other areas need direct chiropractic correction to them, an area of health help we are renowned for.
You might have had a whiplash injury, for example from an auto collision. Bad falls even childhood falls, blows to your head, sports mash-ups and injuries, crashing your neck into the sand when surfing, are a few other examples of how to get a whiplash without involving a moving vehicle. A whiplash will typically cause damage to your ligaments, displace vertebrae, screw-up neck curves and pinch or cripple nerves’ function. Proper treatment is so important, or your neck and nerve problems will usually worsen, often years later, and severe degeneration and arthritis would be your likely eventual result.
Certain occupations and habits can posturally cause severe and ongoing neck problems. If you use a computer, use a mouse, work at a desk, or bend your neck to your work, you may often end up with neck muscle and nerve problems. Extensive use of your smartphone, or even holding a phone to your ear with your shoulder will distort your neck’s structure. If you are a musician who hangs your instrument from straps on your neck, or who holds an instrument like the violin with your neck and chin, that too will distort the neck and harm its nerve-carrying function.
When you tell me that you need to crack your neck or mess with it every day to release the tension and restriction in it, I know a real neck problem exists. For sure your neck has very real structural and nerve-malfunctioning problems.
You may have been told you have arthritis of the neck or spine, and led to believe that nothing can be done to really help you. You may have been told to live with the pain, or to try to dull it with medication. “Bone spurs” and arthritic damage to bones and discs occur in people who have spine problems that were not properly treated. However, most of the worst neck pain patients who have had rave successes with our chiropractic and nutritional therapy, have degenerated and arthritic spines. More than 50% of all the spines we treat come to us with arthritis. And most of those experience excellent results in elimination of pain and restored mobility. So it is false that an arthritic neck is a hopeless condition. We can most often get your neck feeling great too, even if it is already arthritic or degenerated! And that is also true if your neck has disc bulges or protrusions (which are considered most serious).
Your neck’s nerves are so crucial to some very important areas of your body. The nerves that control blood flow to your brain travel through the top of the spine. Headaches, migraines, high blood pressure, dizziness, eye and ear disorders, memory malfunctions, nervousness and fatigue are some of the symptoms caused by pressure and short circuits in your upper neck nerves. Your thyroid gland or throat problems often source from lower neck malfunctions, and damage to your neck’s normal curve. Chronic throat and laryngitis often begin there too.
Surprisingly, since the nerves of your entire spinal cord (the main nerve/electrical cable of your body) pass through your neck, when the absolute top part of your neck shorts out, it can cause you to even have low back pain or appear in your lower body as leg weakness!
When your neck becomes increasingly worse, the motion can be limited. You can find you can’t turn it fully, sometimes you can’t easily change lanes when driving.
Chiropractors’ methods vary. In our office, the most rapid and refined methods for correcting your neck problems are utilized. The more refined and accurate the neck methods are, the better you are. The new breakthrough technologies called Proprioceptive Technique and Advanced Applied Kinesiology enable us to get rid of your pain that may have plagued you for years, even if you've seen other chiropractors, physicians or therapists before getting to us.
Our signature adjustment of Occipital Sideslip (adjusting your skull to precisely be where it belongs relative to your top neck vertebra) has over and over created breakthroughs in health and pain relief. That adjustment has resolved myriads of neck and head problems that stumped other doctors and chiropractors too, often for years of failed treatment elsewhere. It has changed lives!
You will often benefit by using nutrition along with your chiropractic care. Your ligaments, discs and nerves are repaired faster and better using nutritional help. Specific nutrients will help you relieve muscle spasms and pain, often better and without the dopey or other side effects of drugs. And they help you, while science shows us now that anti-inflammatory drugs actually worsen your ligament and joint health!
There’s no good reason for you to live with a neck problem that bugs or may even torture you. And every good reason to get rid of one with advanced effective chiropractic.